CORONADO, Calif. (NNS) -- Commander, Helicopter Sea Combat Wing Pacific (CHSCWP) held a change of command ceremony at Naval Air Station (NAS) North Island in Coronado, California, March 3.
Capt. Ben Reynolds relieved Capt. Larry Vincent as CHSCWP.
CHSCWP is responsible for overseeing the operation of 10 helicopter sea combat (HSC) squadrons, a fleet replacement squadron, an HSC wing weapons and tactics school, and a vertical takeoff and land tactical unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) detachment. These squadrons, school and detachments are located across the Pacific at NAS North Island; Naval Facility Atsugi, Japan; Anderson Air Force Base in Yigo, Guam; and NAS Point Mugu in Oxnard, California.
CHSCWP manages the administrative, operational, and training requirements of more than 3,700 military personnel, and maintenance requirements for more than 150 aircraft, to provide operational commanders with combat-ready HSC forces.
Vincent commanded HSC Wing Pacific since August 2014. During this dynamic period of growth, he oversaw the outfitting of all carrier-based HSC squadrons and one expeditionary HSC squadron with the M-197 20mm gun and unguided and guided rockets; led the integration of the MQ-8B/C Fire Scout into the fleet; and developed an improved Seahawk Weapons and Tactics Program that accounts for new weapons systems, greater integration with special operations forces, and increases safety and proficiency through a rigorous syllabus focused on tactical acumen.
During the ceremony, Vincent discussed the pervasive capabilities exhibited by the MH-60S Knighthawk, known as the "Sierra," and the MQ-8B/C Fire Scout.
"The Sierras and Fire Scouts of HSC touch every grey hull in the fleet and their capabilities cut across a myriad of mission sets," said Vincent. "If you need a platform to shepherd a high value unit through restricted waters, or to insert special operations forces onto a non-compliant vessel, this is it. If you need to bring relief supplies to people in trouble, as we have done in Haiti, New Orleans, or the Philippines, this is it. This is the aircraft."
Vincent also thanked his staff and all of the HSC community for their dedication and professionalism, and expressed his amazement at all they have accomplished.
Vice Adm. Mike Shoemaker, commander, Naval Air Forces, presented Vincent with the Legion of Merit Medal for increasing the lethality and capability of the HSC community, as well as flawlessly executing 96,200 flight hours supporting more than 400 requirements for U.S. 3rd Fleet, including 102 deck landing qualification periods, more than 105 Naval Special Warfare/Marine Specials Operations Command/Explosive Ordnance Disposal events, 25 detachments, 12 ship aviation certifications, and seven ammunition onloads/offloads.
Shoemaker, the guest speaker for the event, was designated a naval aviator in July 1984. He has accumulated over 4,400 flight hours, primarily in the A-7E Corsair and F/A-18C Hornet, and has 1,066 carrier-arrested landings. The vice admiral became Naval Aviation's seventh "Air Boss" in January 2015.
Shoemaker recounted numerous tales of Vincent's accomplishments as CHSCWP.
Shoemaker said Vincent "helped usher in a number of key upgrades and changes that will vastly improve the tactical proficiency of our future Helicopter Sea Combat aviators... all while maintaining the highest maintenance, operational and safety standards."
"Vincent developed a community strategy that, for the first time ever I think, sought to align HSC actions and messages, to establish a common understanding of the community's impressive capabilities," said Shoemaker.
Vincent's previous personal awards include four Defense Meritorious Service Medals, three Navy Commendation Medals, three Navy Achievement Medals, and various unit and campaign ribbons. Vincent's next assignment is as chief of staff to Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa in Naples, Italy.
Reynolds, who served as the CHSCWP deputy commodore, is from Jones, Oklahoma, and was commissioned at the U.S. Naval Academy in 1992. Designated a naval aviator in 1994, his previous operational assignments include Helicopter Combat Support Squadron (HC) 6, deploying twice in support of Balkans and African operations; HSC-26 where he participated in Haiti relief operations; and HSC-25 where he was a commanding officer, deploying twice to Iraq.
Shoemaker welcomed Reynolds by saying, "You are a proven leader, and I have complete trust and confidence in your abilities. Your remarkable vision, credible warrior ethos, and selfless commitment to excellence and teamwork, make you the perfect choice to build upon Vincent's legacy, and put your personal touch on this community's future."
Reynolds thanked Vincent for his visionary leadership by saying, "To my friend and mentor, you have been truly transformational, and I have big shoes to fill."
He expressed his intention to continue furthering Vincent's vision working together as a team to integrate the HSC community as warfighters.
"We must continue to demonstrate predictable, tactical excellence in what we do... every time, without fail," said Reynolds.
Reynolds' personal awards include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, and other unit and campaign ribbons.
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